Behind the breakout offensive display of junior attack Tiffany Ryan and a lockdown performance by junior goaltender Emma Jehle, the Binghamton women’s lacrosse team defeated Niagara, 11-10, to earn its third win of the season Wednesday.
The Bearcats (3-6) pulled out a hard-fought win against the Purple Eagles (3-4) in an afternoon thriller that featured a short-lived five-goal lead in favor of Binghamton and five ties in the second period.
A major component of BU’s gritty victory was Ryan’s four goals on seven shots. Since the Bearcats’ matchup with Syracuse back on Feb. 18, Ryan has netted at least one goal in six consecutive games.
“[Ryan] was faced with a goalie that she could find the net against today and really exploit,” said BU head coach Stephanie Allen. “She was in the right place at the right time.”
Defensively, Jehle collected 11 saves, logged five ground balls and forced three turnovers. Prior to Wednesday’s match, Binghamton ranked second in saves per game (10.62) in the conference, principally because of Jehle’s dominance inside the crease. She came up with key stops down the stretch, including one with the scored tied at 10 and 3:28 remaining in the contest.
“I thought that [Jehle] stayed really composed and engaged today when taking shots,” Allen said. “She did a nice job keeping our defensive unit and our team as a whole in the game. We needed to come up with a stop and prevent Niagara from going on a longer run, Emma really stepped up in that area for us.”
With nine games played and eight remaining, the Bearcats have reached the halfway mark of their season. Although BU has suffered deflating nonconference losses to Syracuse and Canisius this season, it hopes to build from its rigorous early-season schedule and better prepare for its America East (AE) season.
“We knew that going into the season that it was not going to be an easy road leading up to conference,” Allen said. “For our program, it’s important that we play challenging teams in our nonconference schedule. For us, it’s not necessarily the record that we’re looking at, it’s the experience that we go through.”
The squad is set to open AE play with Vermont. Facing off with a Catamounts (0-9) team that is winless on the season, the Bearcats hope to start off their conference with a victory.
“On the defensive end, we want to continue making stops and creating the extra opportunities … we have done a very nice job of getting out there and making the offenses that we’re facing uncomfortable,” Allen said. “Offensively, it’s [about] distributing the ball and creating for our teammates … we don’t ever want to get in the position where we just have one or two people producing.”
The Bearcats are set to square off with Vermont in their conference opener. First draw is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday from the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.